EXTRA CURRICULAR DRAMA AND MUSIC
Battle Abbey School is proud of its reputation in performing arts. In our school the creative subjects are valued and encouraged as much as the rigour of academia and as a result are extremely popular. All students in Key Stage 3 take Drama and Music and in Key Stage 4 the options are increased to include Dance as a GCSE subject. In addition, students who enjoy Drama but do not want to study for an exam can continue to take Drama as an enrichment option. A Level Drama offers opportunities to study texts, practitioners and live performances. Students can learn more about careers in acting and technical stage crafts and how to assess and develop their skills. We are proud of the fact that many of our students succeed in gaining places at drama schools straight from upper sixth and that numerous students over the years have achieved the highest possible marks for their practical work. External moderators have commented that the work they have seen would not have been out of place in the professional theatre. Extra-curricular activities abound and the studio echoes with the sound of laughter and the hush of focused work long after most of the school have left. At Battle Abbey we pride ourselves on our excellence and our inclusivity and any student, who is prepared to be reliable and creatively imaginative, whether they study drama or not, is welcome to join the drama societies or take part in a production. In addition to the weekly drama, dance and technical societies, students can take part in a variety of performance opportunities such as the senior musical, the senior play or the junior production which are cast through open auditions. Frequently, we find scientists or sportsmen in lead roles and perhaps it is significant that nearly all our Oxbridge students have been involved in productions: Max Maher in ‘The Sea’, John Snape in ‘Oklahoma’, Lily Lindon in ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ and Daniel Savage in ‘Guys and Dolls’. The invaluable power of the performing arts to encourage creative, lateral thinking; presentation skills and collaborative team work is recognised by all top universities and industry. We have a strong ethos towards the ensemble, with every member of cast and creative involved in productions being considered equally important. Dance clubs and ballet classes for junior and senior students culminate in impressive Dance shows twice a year which show case a wide range of styles and an extraordinary level of achievement.
The dedicated technical team which is open to all years, meet once a week, led by sixth form students. They provide the technical support and design and front of house for all performances and often support other activities in the school. We like to challenge ourselves: ‘The Crucible’ in one term, performed in different locations; The Christmas Crackerbox with a cast of 70 under covid restrictions; Sondheim musicals; promenade performances and Theatre in Education productions taken to other schools.
We are fortunate to have a well -equipped, purpose-built drama studio which is very flexible and can be expanded to accommodate a larger audience for big productions. We are also blessed with the most exciting locations: We have performed outside, in the Abbot’s Hall, in the dining hall and a particularly creepy devised piece based on The Judge’s House by Bram Stoker was enhanced by its location, the library. On occasion we have performed in local theatrical spaces as well
We work very hard to achieve an exceptional standard for a school but we also thoroughly enjoy ourselves. I don’t think that there is ever a dull moment!
At Battle Abbey, music takes a high profile in the life of the school and constantly offers all pupils the chance to bathe in its waters. As well as offering music at GCSE and A level, individual tuition can be taken in all the main orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, drums and singing. There are many opportunities to sing with the main school choir, which currently has 65 members, the Junior Choir, (for KS3 pupils) and the Ladies Choir. There is also a Chamber Choir which comprises the best 16 or so singers in the school and it has performed in such prestigious venues as Canterbury, Wells and Salzburg Cathedrals. Membership is by invitation.
There is a small orchestra which rehearses for half an hour a week and there are three main concerts during the school year which take place at the end of each term and in which the choirs and individual soloists can perform for parents, friends and distinguished guests.
For the more advanced students there are music scholarships available and there is an additional Scholars Concert where these students can exhibit their musical skills. The students who take the subject at GCSE and A level are required to compose pieces for their coursework and these are sometimes showcased in one of the concerts.
EXTRA CURRICULAR SPORT & PE
PE and Sport
The PE department consists of three full time and two part time teachers with several other academic members of staff supporting games afternoons. Like traditional independent schools, the department run separate curriculums for both PE and Games. During the week Key Stage 3 students receive one session of PE and one Games afternoon, where as Key Stages 4 and 5 have one Games afternoon and the option for further sport during enrichment slots, which also covers the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
Physical Education lessons are two hours long and follow a ‘breadth and depth’ curriculum which aim to give pupils experiences of many different sports such as boxing, aerobics, table tennis, swimming, personal survival, ultimate frisbee and stoolball to name but a few.
The Games curriculum follows a more traditional path and predominantly focus on the sports in which the school plays fixtures. The major sports run for a term and are boys football and girls hockey in the Autumn term, boys hockey and girls netball for the spring term and boys cricket, girls rounders and mixed athletics for the Summer term. The school also competes in sports such as swimming, the training time for which is predominantly delivered through the extracurricular activities program.
Fixtures are played during Games afternoons against a mixture of local state and independent schools. In general the school usually punches above its weight when considering the cohort size. In recent years we have been successful in a number of local and district tournaments including netball, street cricket and stoolball.
The PE department use a mixture of on and off-site facilities to deliver their curriculum. On site there is a large games field, an astroturf with three tennis courts and two netball courts, a fitness suite, gym and two dance studios.
Our main off-site facility is Horntye Sports Park which has a sports hall and full size astroturf and is used for most Games afternoons and a proportion of fixtures. Other facilities used include Summerfields and Bexhill Leisure Centres. There is also a school pool at the Prep School site in Bexhill-on-Sea.
Trips & Tours
There are a number of annual trips and tours. The annual Dover College Sports exchange runs for Year 7 and 8 pupils and involved both a home and away leg. There are also bi-annual ski trips and sports tours which run during the Easter Holidays.
Sports scholarships are predominantly awarded to candidates who excel in football, hockey, netball, cricket and rounders. A number of scholarships are also offered for swimming.
Successful scholars are expected to contribute to their sport and others, whilst taking an active role with the leadership and running of teams. It is a given that they will be acting as role models for their peers and, as such, high levels of motivation and commitment to training and competition are essential.
The application process will involve candidates being required to:
- Be assessed live, either at an assessment day or in games during a taster day
- Be interviewed by the Director of Sport
EXTRA CURRICULAR OUTDOOR EDUCATION
Outdoor Education is an engaging, effective and enjoyable form of learning. Outdoor Learning provides direct experience for learning about our natural environment and ways we can enjoy it. Outdoor Learning provides such a different climate for learning that people who normally struggle as learners often become motivated and capable learners in the outdoors. Teachers are frequently surprised by the abilities and interest shown by ‘poorly performing’ students when in the outdoors, and by the extent to which Outdoor Learning has awakened their potential. Battle Abbey School offers a variety of options within the Duke of Edinburgh programme.
Duke of Edinburgh
A Duke of Edinburgh programme is a real adventure from beginning to end. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. You just need to be aged between 14 and 24 and realise there’s more to life than sitting on a sofa watching life pass you by. You achieve your Award by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections (five if you’re going for Gold) – Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and for Gold, a Residential.
You’ll find yourself helping people or the community, getting fitter, developing skills, going on an expedition and taking part in a residential activity (Gold only). Your programme can be full of activities and projects that get you active, and along the way you’ll pick up experiences, friends and talents that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Why do Duke of Edinburgh?
Achieving an Award will give you skills, confidence and a view on life that everyone is looking for, from employers to colleges and universities.
You’re getting recognised for doing things you want to do (and may even be doing already).
You’ll make a difference to other people’s lives and your community, be fitter and healthier, make new friends and have memories to last you a lifetime.
And above all, it’s great fun!
EXTRA CURRICULAR TRIPS & EVENTS
There are many opportunities for pupils at different ages to extend their horizons with exciting trips both locally, and to far off venues on other continents. Although these change on an annual basis, it is fair to say that learning and enriching opportunities are available for all Battle Abbey students regardless of their age, interest or curriculum.
More active students have the opportunity to join the fantastically successful swim teams, who have travelled the country to represent the school or other sports teams and tours. Equally, the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme facilitates travel and adventure as does the ski trip.
More academic pursuits are also on offer, whether it is the Prep School chess competitions, History trips to Ypres and beyond or various field trips inherent in studying Business or Geography.
The prospect of visiting overseas to a distant land, participating on a self-funded expedition or experiencing first-hand an aspect that many students only study in a text-book offers students an enticing and enriching opportunity. This is very much in keeping with the holistic and wide-ranging options on offer to Battle Abbey students throughout their time at the school.